What principles are you willing to pay a price for?
By ROY HARRYMAN
Do you have a conviction you will pay a price for?
Vladimir Bukovsky does.
I must admit I had never heard of him until I read this article.
Bukovsky got booted out of the Soviet Union for agitating for democracy. He started being a problem for the state – get this – when he was 10 years old and quit the Communist Party. Its youth branch, Young Pioneers, required him to unjustly punish a classmate: He wouldn’t do it.
I’m sure he was partly pleased to leave his native land. But before the ejection he was imprisoned for 12 years in a labor camp and bogusly placed in a psychiatric hospital (a common way to torture dissidents).
Bukovsky landed in England and kept up his drumbeat of criticism. This isn’t appreciated back home, to say the least. Just ask the late Alexander Litvinenko.
It seems that the payback machine is still going strong. Bukovsky was recently accused of crimes related to child pornography on his computer. But wait.
Bukovsky says he is completely innocent and he went on a month-long hunger strike to protest his indictment. The British government responded by postponing the trial.
Bukovsky said, and I agree, that this bears the marks of classic Soviet-era retaliation. “The KGB didn't change … it only renamed,” he said.
If Russian agents can get a tightly controlled radioactive element into his colleague’s cup of tea, then they can dump files onto Bukovsky’s computer.
When you read these lines from his essay, “The Soul of Socialist Man,” you can see why the Russians consider him dangerous:
"Why should I do it?" asks each man in the crowd. "I can do nothing alone."
And they are all lost.
"If I don't do it, who will?" asks the man with his back to the wall.
And everyone is saved.
Bukovsky’s resolve to pay a price for his convictions inspired and sobered me. I’d like to think I have convictions and ideals worth suffering for. But when push comes to shove, will I give ground?
How about you? What principles are non-negotiables, regardless of any retaliation or defamation you may endure?
Let Vladimir Bukovsky give you courage.
"Frankly, I don't care about the risk of being sent to prison. I have already spent 12 years in Soviet prisons having committed no crime in my life, I don't expect to live for very long, and it makes little difference to me whether I spend the final few weeks of my life in jail. However, what is fundamentally important to me is defending my reputation."
Fight on brother.